Most people bring their inner child on an epic adventure. Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie actually took his two kids along. For a 4,000-mile bicycle ride across America, Joe’s seven-year-old son, Quinn, rides a tagalong bike attached to his dad’s; and behind that is five-year-old Enzo in a bike trailer.
Our hero the Metal Cowboy answers the question “What are you, crazy?” with a resounding and cheerful “Yes.” Unassisted—with no support crew except his boys’ comic relief and the periodic kindness of strangers—he pedals hundreds of pounds of gear and offspring over mountain passes, across the wide plains, through thunderstorms, and into the heart of what it means to be a dad.
Along the way they encounter everything that makes up America—small-town kindness and inner-city heart, wild horses and highway roadkill, a?bitter Vietnam vet and a hopeful young inventor, grizzly bears and bison roaming free, cyclists and monstrous RVs, a very peppy cheerleader and a visitation from the ghost of the author’s father, horrible traffic and serene dirt roads, a monastery and a distillery, baseball, and yes, lots of pie.
By the time they reach Washington, DC, two months after leaving Portland, Oregon, they’ve bonded in a rare way. Kurmaskie
writes, “We share a secret, the three of us; one permanent summer in our hearts now, where we’re never apart.”